Water utilities search for ‘time bomb’ lead pipes

State governments don't always know where all their water lines are located, which makes it difficult to replace dangerous lead pipes. Health experts call them "underground poisonous straws."


National News

June 20, 2022 - 1:56 PM

An individual holds a lead pipe, a steel pipe and a lead pipe treated with protective orthophosphate. The Environmental Protection Agency is only now requiring water systems to inventory their lead pipes decades after new ones were banned. Photo by Environmental Protection Agency

TRENTON, Mo. — It took three years for officials to notice lead was seeping into the city’s drinking water. 

Missouri regulators had given the green light in 2014 for Trenton to start adding monochloramine to its drinking water to disinfect it without the harmful byproducts of chlorine. 

But by 2017, the city noticed something alarming. 

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